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Shingles vaccine free for the elderly

AAP logoAAP 2/11/2016

Seventy-year-old Australians can now get the shingles vaccine for free.

Shingles is a painful rash, which can blister and is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox.

One in three adults is at risk of developing the virus in their lifetime which has a particularly debilitating effect on older people.

Minister for Health Sussan Ley announced the expansion of the National Immunisation Program on Wednesday and a catch-up program available for adults aged 71 to 79 years.

"This new program is an important reminder that vaccinations don't stop at childhood," Ms Ley said.

"Regardless of how healthy and fit you feel, as you age you are at increased risk of contracting serious illnesses."

The shingles vaccine is the first adult vaccine for a new disease added to the National Immunisation Program, which now provides free vaccines for eligible people for 17 infectious diseases.

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